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An Odd Combination of Parts
I am not quite sure what to make of this book. I think the author had an interesting premise, but it was not fully realized on several fronts. I found the first part of the book to be so dull that I almost did not continue. Nearly 10% of the book is just taken up with how the heroine got to New Hope and her walk around Lacewood manor. Another significant portion just following this seemed to just detail home repair and the heroine’s growing involvement with the future hero. Things get more interesting when the heroine finds out more about the old home’s previous owners through artifacts and letters.
But then the book does a strange flip. Part 1 takes place in the present, and then part 2, which doesn’t happen until after the 75% mark, takes us back to the Civil War past of the manor. The last 7% or so is part 3 and takes place in the present again. These broad jumps in time made the book feel disjointed. Rather than have parts, and such lopsided parts, I think the book would have been better if the past storyline had been integrated with the present one. For example, the author could have interleaved pertinent past chapters within the current storyline as interrupters, especially if they illuminated what the current heroine found. It would have made for a more cohesive story and overall plot line. I also felt that the author’s prose was too flowery in places, especially in the beginning section, and was a little too heavily dependent on descriptive words like adjectives and adverbs that actually distracted from the reading because it was overloaded with unnecessary details.
While I completely bought into the Civil War romance (even if the hero of that arc seemed too good in general and an unbelievably fantastic love letter writer), I didn’t get any chemistry from the contemporary couple. Their romance didn’t hit all the right notes (conventions and obligatory scenes) that a love story should have. The big themes that the writer promised would be shown in the blurb were not realized in the book itself (though we were TOLD they were addressed by the characters). In all, I found this book unsatisfying.